Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Moment of Gratitude

As of today, we have been back in the United States for exactly a month, and we are able to reflect on our experience with clear eyes. As I look back on our experience as a team, I am filled with gratitude for the plethora of opportunities offered to us. I am so proud of our team of students and truly appreciate all the hard work that they put into this trip, and I am grateful to the medical professionals and clinic organizers for bringing together the essential details for us to have a successful week.

Ultimately, my greatest gratitude goes to God for the innumerable blessings that encapsulated our work in Guatemala. Truly, we are blessed that the communities of Patanatic and San Jose welcomed us and trusted us with their health, that our own communities have supported us in traveling to Guatemala, that each individual we encountered during our trip met us with enthusiasm and kindness, and that our own gifts are abundant enough for us to share.

As you have heard by now, God humbled and blessed me with an opportunity to share my shoes with a young girl we encountered on our last day in the clinic. Each of us filled with excitement as we realized that we might be able to provide the simple joy of shoes to this child, but I was the one who was fortunate to have the smallest feet and was therefore able to gift my shoes. As I tied the shoes on her feet, I chastised myself for not having cleaned my shoes in so long and went to remove a blue plastic ribbon that was tied to the shoestrings of the right shoe – and then I hesitated.

Nearly three years ago, I visited Guatemala for the first time with a group of young men from Columbus. As we began our week in July of 2011, I led a reflection on the importance of solidarity which ended with us each tying these ribbons to the shoes we would be wearing during our service that week. The ribbon was meant to remind us to ‘walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.’ As this memory flashed through my mind, I drew my hands from the shoes to my heart. I was overcome by how God had brought me serendipitously to this moment where I realized that sometimes walking in someone else’s shoes means allowing them to walking in yours.

In that moment, all my self-doubts washed away as God revealed that this gesture of giving shoes was not just a gift to this beautiful little girl, it was a gift to a young women working tirelessly to be on the right path when, in fact, she had been there all along.

Stephanie Renny
April 15, 2014